What is cut grade, and is “Ideal” important?

Cut Grade
[Image Courtesy: Diamond Musings]

Many online and local brick-and-mortar jewelry retailers have their perspective on the “most important” 4C. While doing your due diligence researching the world of cut grading (just one of the 4Cs to consider), you’ll notice various nomenclature ranging from scientific to terms of the trade.

 

As a quick review, the 4Cs (in no particular order) are Color, Clarity, Cut, and Carat Weight. Click here to read more about the 4Cs.

 

Many people ask me if Lab-grown diamonds are graded as rigorously as mined diamonds. The answer is yes! They are diamonds, so why wouldn’t they be?

 

The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) set the global standard for the 4Cs and every other gemological laboratory like the International Gemological Institute (IGI) and the Gem Certification & Assurance Lab (GCAL). Diamonds are therefore graded based on the following five grades:

  • Excellent
  • Very Good
  • Good
  • Fair &
  • Poor

 

Let’s first begin with what cut grade isn’t. Cut grade does not denote the shape (outline) of the diamond. So when I discuss cut with my clients, we’re not referring to the various shapes which include round, pear, oval, emerald, and so on. It also does not denote the cutting style, which refers to the arrangement of the facets.

 

So what is cut grade? The main idea that cut grade is conveying is how well the diamond interacts with light. Interaction with light means many things when it comes to diamonds, which is why diamond whether Laboratory grown or mined, are so coveted and unique. We can dive deeper in future blog posts about those specific properties.

 

One thing to consider when thinking about cut grade is how well proportioned the diamond is. Why? Because it’s all about light retention! Even the highest quality diamonds with the best cut grades will inevitably leak an inconsequential amount of light. But all else equal, the more well proportioned the diamond is, the less light will leak.

Fundamentally, from a Gemologist perspective, seeing is believing when it comes to cut grade. Each cut grade has set parameters for proportions. Therefore, as you’ll learn about the 4Cs, (other than Carat Weights exacting measurement), cut grade also has a “range” which means that no two cut grades are identical in terms of their overall set of interacting proportions.

 

So, what are ideal cut diamonds? They’re just differing opinions on the set of proportions that an extremely low percentage of cut graded diamonds fall into. You may hear retailers position these as “perfectly proportioned” or “reflect as much light as possible.”

 

However, based on my experience, I would not hesitate to personally purchase a Very Good cut grade diamond. With that being said, if you prioritize Cut Grade as one of the most important 4Cs, than you may appreciate what an Ideal cut diamond has to offer.

There’s no overwhelming proof that shows that one specific set of criteria is superior to another in terms of eye visible beauty. It may sound cliche, but beauty is subjective and is truly in the eyes of the beholder.

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